My Love Letter to Bed-Stuy and Down-to-Earth Dives
Bedford-Stuyvesant: My neighborhood since 2019. In my short time going out here, I've found something I've never been able to fully grasp and hold onto unlike anywhere else: community and dive bars within walking distance.
Many times I've said, "I never leave the borough, let alone the neighborhood." Because why? Bed-Stuy has everything I need: good people, great food, beautiful Brownstones, and even better bars–yes, in fact, I AM BIASED and I don't care.
One of my favorite things to do includes barhopping, going out, meeting up with friends over food and drinks, and "shooting the shit," as my people back home like to call "hanging out."
This list of the best bars in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn are graded on ambiance (dim lighting and use of Christmas lights all year long), drink selection (who's got the cheapest beer and shot combo), and overall ~vibes.~
If you're looking for a laid-back haunt, a dive with some real out-of-this-world cast of characters, then look no further than the 2.782 square miles of the best Brooklyn has to offer.
Where It's At and Where To Go
5. Do or Dive - 1108 Bedford Avenue
Having a bad day? Or maybe you're just hungover. Either way, have a Bad Dad (or a "coffee thing") and all your problems (last night's shenanigans) will melt away while you enjoy some company of some of the finest folks in BK. The Bad Dad, which combines vodka with a splash of grape Pedialyte, is the signature drink of choice for all the hungover honeys.
You can read more about the rebirth of the '70s sleaze bar in the New Yorker.
4. LunÀtico - 486 Halsey St
Lunàtico is owned by three touring musicians. After many years on the road, they've figured out what constitutes a perfect hang. You should also come back the next morning for brunch that will knock you off your rocker, when they bring back brunch that is (thanks pandemic).
It's got a cozy back porch/patio/backyard and refurbished a decades-old bar sign from another previous establishment. We love to keep the history alive in this place.
Try the 'liquid love' or the 'perfect strangers' cocktails or their house margarita.
Lunàtico also serves as a music corner here off Halsey and Lewis. You can follow them on Instagram to follow all the upcoming gigs coming your way. You'll come for the music and stay for the people and the drinks and the food and the ambiance and the staff–they're really something. I've been told by many locals and regulars that Norah Jones once came in to dine and ended up playing a set on the house piano. You never know who you'll see or run into over here.
3. The Coyote Club - 417 Throop Ave
4pm - 4am every damn day, The Coyote Club is for lonesome traveler, the broken hearted, and the "I just stayed up all night and I'm never sleeping again" folk. This is a solid choice if you're looking for a classic beer and shot combo for 4 bucks.
2. Dynaco - 1112 Bedford Ave
Seriously, come here and leave with a warm belly and full heart. This one is cozy and dark and cool. Yes, the food you'll experience is great, but the company you keep is even better. I adore their Lloyd Fireplace – makes me feel at home. And lately, they've been shucking oysters, so if that's your jam on a Sunday afternoon this summer, I'll see ya there with a bucket of shells.
Read more about Dynaco in the NYT.
1. Turtles All the Way Down - 236 Malcolm X Blvd
This is my stone's-throw-away bar and probably my favorite. "Turtles all the way down" is an expression of the problem of infinite regress, but the only infinite regress you'll be having is not coming to this bar to hang out. There's always a seat open at a table full of friends to take on a new friend, or stray, or dog.
Turtles, as us regulars call it, has one of the best bloody mary mix I've ever had in my life. A pickle to garnish and you're about to have the best damn day, no matter the weather–the weather is always cool under the tent in the back nowadays. Don't forget to say hey the Hank and Harriet, the two resident turtles in the back, next to the jukebox.
An homage to one of my old haunts: Mickey's Tavern in East Nashville, Tennessee. Where my affinity for bar stools and $2 High Lifes began.
Make a stop here if you ever find yourself southbound going through Nashville. Tell them Heather sent you and she still can beat your ass in pool!
Be sure to take part in the infamous Mickey's red-lit bathroom selfies.